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South Pole arrivals and False Record Claims

Posted: Dec 27, 2013 09:08 pm EST


(Newsdesk) Ben Saunders and Tarka L'Herpiniere arrived at the Pole on December 26th and turned back to Cape Evans. Geoff Wilson kited in on December 27th and will continue the crossing north to the coast.


Teams supported by staff and cars, Parker Liautaud and cyclist Maria Leijerstam, arrived at the Pole on December 24th and 26th respectively.



Unassisted, Unsupported 

Cape Evans start, return journey


Ben Saunders and Tarka L'Herpiniere arrived at the South Pole on December 26th at 20:35, they reported. After spending a bit of time there they headed back, north. The total distance travelled for the day was 35.31 miles (56.83km) in almost 19 hours. 



Unassisted, Supported 

Novo Base - SP - Hercules Inlet traverse


Geoff Wilson described his arrival at the SP as emotional. “After so many weeks, battling the deep snow on the incline on the Somo Veken glacier, split loading, then the killer storm, the crevasses, the terror of putting a foot through a snowbridge, the miles of open ice, then the rough ice, low wind, Westerly winds, then the final glass wall between me and the South Pole – that destabilsed me completely. Rest and refocus and then the magic of today; 15 hours of continual movement, 12 flying a kite.”


Geoff is determent to keep his unassisted status and therefore declined a tour of the South Pole Station.



Assisted, Supported, Motorized expeditions. "Look, I'm the world's longest apple," said the banana.


Staff and cars offer major advantages. The below expeditions used motorized and other assistance, claiming records from polar explorers who achieved much harder feats.


Leverett Glacier start


Doug Stoup (guide) and Parker Liautaud


Doug Stoup (guide), Parker Liautaud, along with a car and a support team arrived at the South Pole on December 24th after 18 days on the ice, following the shortest route available (500 km).


19-year-old Parker Liautaud, claims to have set “a new record for the fastest-ever unsupported walk from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and in the process becoming the youngest person ever to reach both the North and South Poles.”

Why the claim is incorrect:



The youngest Coast to South Pole skier remains Sarah McNair-Landry, who, at age 18, skied the 1130 km Hercules Inlet route, unassisted and unsupported with a ski team during the 2004-05 season.


As for the youngest person visiting both poles, Guinness states Jonathan Silverman did it at the age of 11. 


Liautaud's claims can be found unchecked today all over mainstream media such as Telegraph, Mirror, Independent, Guardian and more.


Maria Leijerstam 


Maria Leijerstam, along with her support team and a car, cycled on the Leverett route into the Pole on December 26th. 


Maria claims to be “the first person to cycle to the South Pole from the edge of the continent in 10 days beating all other speed records”. 

 Why the claim is incorrect:





Antarctica: Scott's moment of truth, Helen Skelton's hoax, and a few real World Records 


Antarctica: Helen Skelton world record hoax (and how you can help kill it)


Breaking news: Christian Eide bags the South Pole solo speed ski world record


Follow daily South Pole blog updates with RSS feeds in the News Stream on ExplorersWeb and the Pythom app or click the links below. 


2013 South Pole teams


Unassisted, unsupported:


Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere, UK, UK/FR, Cape Evans return journey

Richard Parks, UK, Hercules Inlet, solo (speed record attempt)

Vesa Luomala, FI, Hercules Inlet, solo

Antony Jinman, UK, Hercules Inlet, solo

Marty and Chris Fagan, USA, Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf start

Juan Menendez Granados, ES, Hercules Inlet, solo cycle


Unassisted, Supported (traverse):


Geoff Wilson, AU, Novo Runway - GSP - Hercules Inlet

Faysal Hanneche, FR, Novo Runway - GSP - Hercules Inlet (aborted)


Assisted, Unsupported


Daniel Burton, USA, Hercules Inlet, cycle

Carl Alvey (ANI guide) and Lewis Clarke, UK, Hercules Inlet

Devon McDiarmid (CA, ANI guide), Joshua Hodgkinson (AU), Arabella Slinger (UK), and Wen Yuan (China), Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf


Assisted, Supported, Motorized


Leverett Glacier start: Doug Stoup (US, guide), Parker Liautaud (UK), car driver, Eyjólfur Már Teitsson (Iceland), cameraman, Paddy Scott (UK) and Nathan Hambrook-Skinner (comms operator). Leverett Glacier


Leverett Glacier start: Maria Leijerstam (UK, Welch, tricycle) and Arctic Truck’s Emil Grímsson  Torfi Jóhannsson (both Iceland).


Partial route:


Walking With The Wounded, last three degrees from Novo side (guides, Eric Philips, Inge Solheim and Conrad Dickinson. Three teams racing to the Pole. Price Harry with them.) Arctic trucks support team: Emil Grímsson, Pálmi Baldursson,Torfi Jóhannsson and Ari Hauksson.




Dronning Maud Land Project  Aleksander Gamme, Espen Fadnes, Kjersti Eide, Jonas Langseth, Andy Kirkpatrick and Ingeborg Jakobsen.


Australian Mawson Centenary Expedition Spirit of Mawson website

AAE 2013-2014 Interpret Science website


Expeditions 7 Novo - GSP - Leverett Glacier return drive: Gísli Karel Elísson (Iceland), plus expedition team


Arctic Trucks


Gateway port Cape Town, South Africa: 

To ALCI /TAC base camp Novolazarevskaya / Novo 

70° 46’37”S, 011° 49’26”E 


Gateway port Punta Arenas, Chile, South America: 

To ALE/ANI base camp, Union Glacier 

79° 45'S, 083° 14'W


Hercules Inlet is located at 80°S near Union Glacier, 1130 km from the Geographic South Pole.

The bottom of the Leverett Glacier, at the Ross Ice Shelf, is located at about 85ºS, a distance of 550 km from the Geographic South Pole.

The Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf (Messner) start is 890 km in a straight line from the Pole.


1 nautical mile (nm) = 1.852 km

1 nm = 1.151 miles

1 knot = 1.852 km/h

1 degree of Latitude is 110 km / 60 nm / 70 miles

Sastrugi are hard snow bumps and can be as high as 10 feet

A nunatak is a top of a mountain visible above the snow surface.


South Pole of Inaccessibility 2011-12 position: 

S82°06.696, E055°01.951

Geographic South Pole: 90 degrees South


A "solo" ski requires an unassisted status (therefore no supplies carried by pilots or car drivers, or anything received from any person).




Two teams aiming to arrive at the South Pole on Christmas Day


Cars on Antarctica 


Gamme and team to climb, jump and ski in Dronning Maud Land


The Coldest Place on Earth 


The Cycle Race for the South Pole kicked off


South Pole speed attempt to restart; Kiters in trouble with kites


Antony Jinman with two drones to the South Pole, ExWeb interview


Maria Leijerstam in the Cycle Race for the South Pole


South Pole ski update: Geoff Wilson through crevasse minefields; Waiting game in Punta Arenas


Carl Alvey to guide 16-year-old Lewis Clarke to the South Pole: ExWeb interview


China’s growing presence in Antarctica


ExWeb interview with Lewis Clarke (16): to ski 1130 km Hercules Inlet route 


Novo kite-skiers on Antarctica - Updated


ExWeb interview with Richard Parks, "it took pretty much every bit of physical and mental energy" 


ExWeb interview with Vesa Luomala, "there is no room for underestimating a place like Antarctica"


ExWeb South Pole 2013 interview with Geoff Wilson, "my mind I feel will be the greatest maze of all"


Marty and Chris Fagan, married outdoor team for the past 15 years. ExWeb South Pole interview 


South Pole 2013-14: Doug Stoup and Parker Liautaud for Leverett Glacier route


Cycle South Pole update: testing and innovation


ExWeb interview with Juan Menendez Granados: the greatest challenge


Australian Mawson Centenary Expedition update


ExWeb South Pole 2013 interview with Geoff Wilson, "my mind I feel will be the greatest maze of all"


ExWeb South Pole kick-off interview: Daniel Burton, return cycle journey


ExWeb interview with Eric Philips, three decades of polar experience


Breaking news: Christian Eide bags the South Pole solo speed ski world record


AdventureStats and Rules of Adventure


Adventure Network International (ANI) / ALE

Antarctic Logistics Centre International (ALCI) / TAC


#polar #southpole2013  #southpole2013-14  #antarctica 





Geoff Wilson at the Ceremonial South Pole after covering nearly 20 degrees of latitude.
courtesy Geoff Wilson, SOURCE
Maria Leijerstam arrived at the Geographic South Pole from the Leverett route on her tricycle, less than 5 degrees of latitude.
courtesy Dark Ice Project, SOURCE
Doug Stoup (guide) and Parker Liautaud and their car support team's Leverett route
courtesy Willis Resilience Expedition, SOURCE
South Pole routes.
courtesy ExplorersWeb, SOURCE
Car routes
courtesy Arctic Trucks, SOURCE
Aleksander Gamme, Espen Fadnes, Jonas Langseth, Ingeborg Jackobsen, Kjersti Eide and Andy Kirkpatrick, touched down in Dronning Maud Land from Novo Base.
courtesy Dronning Maud Land Project, SOURCE